Students and parents in Newtown schools are getting an education this week about the perils of abusing synthetic drugs.
Students in middle school and high school are learning from the former undercover DEA agent and former criminal prosecutor and judge who make up the Stutman Switalski Group and travel the country to give communities straight talk about the new drug issue plaguing the nation and Connecticut unlike anything before.
“Our kids are dying. Our families are dying. Our elderly populations are all suffering from a real epidemic,” Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski said.
Stutman and Switalski take the approach that children today already know more about drugs than students of the “Just say no" generation, so they talk to the middle and high school students in real terms about what to do when they're confronted with drugs because for most of them it will happen and for many, it already has.
"'Just Say No' didn’t work. They said 'no' when I grew up, when you grew up. It’s just not the truth about drugs and we have to give kids the truth, otherwise they’re never going believe anything we ever say,” Switalski said.
“You cannot pick out an opioid addict, Makes it very dangerous because your kid will continue to get 'A's until the day he goes over the cliff, which makes it a very dangerous drug,” Stutman said.
A note sent home to parents about this week's assemblies included the African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child." School leaders said that this village needs to get serious about the issue of drug use.
“We just want people to have the right information so that we can protect children,” Jean Evans Davila, an assistant superintendent for Newtown Public Schools, said.
The week’s events will culminate with a parent community forum meant to empower moms and dads to protect their children from this growing epidemic. They say it’s something every parent needs to face before the issue claims their child.
“You can’t love your kids enough to survive this kind of epidemic,” Judge Switalski said.
The program was sponsored by the Newtown Parent Connection.